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Viewing cable 08SANTIAGO1042, BORDER ISSUES IN NORTHERN CHILE: DISPUTES,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08SANTIAGO1042 2008-11-28 19:07 2011-02-19 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Santiago
Appears in these articles:
http://elcomercio.pe/
VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #1042/01 3331946
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281946Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4001
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 3647
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 2190
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0551
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 1157
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1858
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV 6033
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5824
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 1999
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 001042 
 
SIPDIS 
 
PM/RSAT FOR JEFF BURNETT 
PENTAGON FOR KRISTI HUNT 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2018 
TAGS: PBTS MARR SNAR KTIA PREL CI PE BL
SUBJECT: BORDER ISSUES IN NORTHERN CHILE:  DISPUTES, 
DEFENSE PL...


id: 180591
date: 11/28/2008 19:46
refid: 08SANTIAGO1042
origin: Embassy Santiago
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 08SANTIAGO931|08SANTIAGO942
header:
VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #1042/01 3331946
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281946Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4001
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 3647
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 2190
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0551
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 1157
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1858
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV 6033
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5824
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 1999
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY


----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 001042 

SIPDIS 

PM/RSAT FOR JEFF BURNETT 
PENTAGON FOR KRISTI HUNT 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2018 
TAGS: PBTS MARR SNAR KTIA PREL CI PE BL
SUBJECT: BORDER ISSUES IN NORTHERN CHILE:  DISPUTES, 
DEFENSE PLANS, AND DRUG TRAFFICKING 

REF: A. SANTIAGO 931 
     B. SANTIAGO 942 

Classified By: E/Pol Chief Juan Alsace for reasons 1.4 (a) and (b). 

1.  (C) SUMMARY:  A contested border and drug trafficking can 
sometimes bedevil relations between Chile and Peru on a 
national level, while on a local level, officials from 
communities on both sides of the border appear committed to 
cooperation.  Government officials in the northern Chilean 
border town of Arica report cooperation with their Bolivian 
colleagues is more difficult due to frequent staff changes. 
Arican government leaders claim Chile's defense plans 
essentially call for abandoning the city in the event of an 
attack from the north, and instead creating a hardline to 
Arica's south at, the port city of Iquique.  While mistaken 
according to embassy defense sources, this perception is 
indicative of the disconnect from Santiago many Aricans feel. 
 END SUMMARY. 

2.  (U) Poloff met with elected officials, law enforcement 
officers, business leaders, press, academic officials, and 
indigenous leaders during an October trip to the Arica and 
Parinacota region of northern Chile.  Ref A reported on 
economic issues in the region, Ref B described local 
political challenges, including corruption and relations with 
the indigenous Aymara. 

All Eyes on Maritime Dispute 
---------------------------- 

3.  (SBU) Despite overall good relations with their Peruvian 
neighbors in Tacna, Aricans were united in decrying Peru's 
decision to take their maritime border dispute to the Hague. 
Peru claims its maritime border with Chile should follow the 
trajectory of the land border, angling down to the southwest. 
 In contrast, the current maritime border runs parallel to 
longitudinal lines, giving Chile control over nearly 40,000 
square kilometers of valuable fishing areas that Peru now 
claims.  Diputado Ivan Paredes, a member of the Socialist 
Party, claimed Peru was being hypocritical by demanding a new 
maritime border, noting Peru benefits from having its 
maritime border with Ecuador follow longitudinal lines rather 
than the trajectory of the land border.  Paredes was 
dismissive of Peruvian and Bolivian border claims, saying 
politicians in those countries find it expedient to appeal to 
nationalist pride and populist tendencies by calling for 
revised borders regardless of the validity of the claims. 
Poloff detected a sense among Aricans that the court case is 
far away and hard to influence, and a quiet confidence that 
Chile will come out on top. 

Arica Left Out of Chilean Defense Plans? 
---------------------------------------- 

4.  (C) Both Diputado Paredes and District Attorney Jorge 
Valladares told Poloff Arica is left out of Chile's plans to 
defend the northern border in the case of an attack. 
According to the two government officials, the military 
determined that it would be too difficult to defend the city 
given the many gorges nearby.  Instead, the military has 
planned for a hardline north of Iquique, and has stationed 
most of its F-16s there.  (Note:  DAO reports that, of 
Chile's fleet of 28 F-16s, the ten newest ones, which were 
purchased from the U.S., are based in Iquique.  Basing these 
planes further north would expose them to risk from ground 
artillery.  End Note.)  Neither Paredes or Valladares were 
particularly troubled by this, remarking armed conflict is 
unlikely and that, in any case, Arica works hard to maintain 
favorable relations with Peru.  (Comment:  While it is true 
that Arica is geographically difficult to defend, Chilean 
ground forces have no intention of abandoning the city in the 
unlikely event that it is attacked, according to DAO sources. 
 Two regiments--a reinforced infantry brigade and the first 
combined arms brigade, one of the two elite operational units 
in the Chilean army--are based in Arica.  There are also 
reinforced ground positions near Arica that could be used to 
help defend the city. End Comment.) 

5.  (SBU) Chile is also working to eliminate landmines in the 
region, which were planted along the borders with Peru and 
Bolivia during the Pinochet era.  The Chilean government 
reported that in May 2008, the latest date for which 
statistics were available, there were 106,894 landmines in 
the country--including some in southern Chile near the 
Argentine border.  While Chile had initially committed to 
eliminating its landmines by 2012, the government now says 
this is not possible.  Locals in Arica were not particularly 
bothered by the slow pace of removal, noting that only one or 
two Aricans are injured by landmines each year.  (Note:  See 
IIR 6817001509 for more information on demining efforts in 
northern Chile.  End Note.) 

Drug Trafficking Challenges 
--------------------------- 

6.  (SBU) Arica struggles to control drug trafficking that 
occurs along its borders with Peru and Bolivia.  According to 
Assistant District Attorney Francisco Ganga, drug traffickers 
use false compartments in suitcases and cars and body cavity 
smuggling to sneak drugs--almost entirely cocaine--into Chile 
via the Tacna-Arica border crossing.  "Mules" also cross the 
land borders on foot at night, and some smuggle drugs by 
boat.  Intendente Luis Rocafull told Poloff most mules are 
Peruvians--particularly Aymara women--who are paid about USD 
40 to take a two hour walk across the border.  Those caught 
in Chile face a minimum of seven years in jail.  Arica is 
working on arranging a prisoner transfer agreement with 
Tacna, Rocafull said, as more than half of the women in 
Arica's prisons are Peruvian mules. 

7.  (SBU) At a working level, both District Attorney Jorge 
Valladares and ADA Ganga said they had good cooperation with 
their Peruvian counterparts, but little success in 
establishing relationships or promoting cooperation with 
Bolivian authorities.  Valladares stated much of the problem 
is simply that the Bolivians tend not to stay in their 
positions for very long, making it difficult to create good 
working relationships.  For his part, Intendente Rocafull 
expressed doubts about the efficacy of Peruvian law 
enforcement, noting the Arican police seize 10 times more 
drugs than their Tacnan peers. 

8.  (SBU) Comment:  Several interlocutors commented that 
relations between local government officials and communities 
in northern Chile and southern Peru are often quite 
distinct--and more consistently friendly--than the sometimes 
tense relationship between Lima and Santiago.  While there 
are substantial trade and links between indigenous 
communities in northern Chile and western Bolivia, human 
resource challenges seem to limit the effective cooperation 
between local governments in these areas.  Paredes and 
Valladares' misperceptions about plans for Arica's defense 
shed light on the lack of connection and support from 
Santiago that some Aricans feel  End Comment. 
SIMONS 

=======================CABLE ENDS============================